A quick trawl of the blogs this morning finds me catching up on an excellent article on the present and future of DTC from John Mack at the Pharma Marketing Blog, and discovering a new anti-pharma blog called Pharmopoly. Obviously take this with a pinch of salt but here is what the anti-globalization folks at Pharmopoly are saying, and note that drug companies are now moving squrely into their cross-hairs over patnets and reimportation as well as over thrid world imports:
Global Growth launched the Pharmopoly campaign in mid-2004 as a response to Big Pharma’s concerted worldwide lobbying for protectionist laws benefiting their profits at the expense of the sick and the poor. Last year saw an unprecedented, Big Pharma financed, multi-million dollar political lobbying and advertising effort. The lobbying was aimed at influencing the outcome of the U.S. elections in the direction of Big Pharma’s preferred candidates and creating a political climate favourable to their interests globally. That lobbying effort earned Big Pharma a huge legislative payback. High prices for drugs result from the ability of the pharmaceutical monopolies to manipulate patent laws, trade treaties and legislation in order to deter competition. Big Pharma also buys political influence with the specific aim of boosting tax-financed prescription payment subsidies on a gargantuan scale. Only the arms industry relies on taxpayers for its profits more than the pharmaceutical industry. In the developing world already high prices are further compounded by costly import tariffs and ‘luxury’ taxes on foreign manufactured pharmaceutical treatments.
So the sick in rich and poor nations alike face twin threats from revenue hungry governments and corporations seeking to exploit patient necessity – despite the dying having no choice but to obtain drugs at whatever price they can afford. The Pharmopoly campaign aims to expose the high costs to patients of protectionism, import tariffs and government granted patent monopolies.
The Pharmopoly campaign’s three objectives are; firstly to promote the tariff-free trade of drugs in the developing world, secondly defend the parallel trading of pharmaceuticals in the rich industrialised nations. Thirdly, to lobby legislators for patient-friendly duration limits on government granted monopolies which will reduce the long-term costs of drugs for patients. We are campaigning for safe, free and fair trade in drugs worldwide.
UPDATE: Paul Staines from Pharmopoly writes: Thanks for referencing our Pharmopoly blog, but just one point; we’re not “anti-globalization folks”, we are pro-free trade, pro-free enterprise. We’re not against Pharma making a profit. We’re against the abuse of monopoly powers granted by patents and the political influence Pharma has over politicians, particularly in the United States. Big Pharma is arguably against free trade and for protectionism whilst deriving its profits increasingly from socialised medicine. Third world governments are also in our “cross-hairs” – for putting excessively high tariffs and luxury taxes on imported medicines. We’re in favour of free trade in pharmaceuticals across borders.